Not currently on display at the V&A

Flight stool

Stool
1998 (designed), 1998 (manufactured)
Artist/Maker
Place Of Origin

This stool was originally designed for the bar of the Soho Brewing Company, which opened in Covent Garden in London in 1998. Approximately 40 to 60 stools and matching chairs were supplied for the basement bar, all with painted panels to make them more durable. Windmill Furniture subsequently put the Flight Stool into production. They also manufacture the design on behalf of the Italian furniture company Cappellini. In 1998, at the Designers Block exhibition held at the Truman Brewery in Brick Lane, London, Cappellini sponsored an installation that consisted of several Flight stools suspended in an arc from floor to ceiling. The stools were specially moulded so that the legs opened out wider and wider towards the top of the arc. This simulated a bird launching itself into flight.


object details
Categories
Object Type
Materials and Techniques
Bent birch plywood, with paint
Brief Description
Flight stool, designed by Barber Osgerby, British, Windmill Furniture, London, 1998
Physical Description
The stool is made from single form birch plywood. The plywood is seven ply. The seat and upper sections of the sides are coated with a clear varnish. The base section of the sides are coated with a grey paint and are fitted with circular nylon feet pads.



In profile, the piece leans backwards. In section, the front drops vertically to the floor. At the rear, as the the side panels drop they taper inwards until, 30 mm from the top, the side sections are 310 mm deep. At this point the side panels gently curve out again until they reach the floor, giving the base a depth of 415 mm.



The seat is 390 mm deep. At front and rear it is 450 mm high. However, it dips toward the rear, creating a comfortable hollow to support the buttocks.
Dimensions
  • Width: 400mm
  • Depth: 415mm
  • Height: 450mm
Style
Production typeMass produced
Marks and Inscriptions
LOOP / BARBER OSGERBY / MADE IN ENGLAND BY WINDMILL FURNITURE (Label; English; underside of the seat; 1998)
Gallery Label
Flight Stool Designed by Barber Osgerby Associates (BOA) 1998 Made by Windmill Furniture, London, 1998 Plywood, painted grey at base. During the 1990s bar and restaurant interiors played a crucial role in promoting contemporary design. The Flight Stool was designed for the Soho Brewing Company bar in Covent Garden. Its simple design exploits the structural and decorative properties of plywood. The painted panels added extra protection for the stools in the bar. Given by the Freedom Brewing Company W.1-2000(1999)
Credit line
Given by the Freedom Brewing Co
Object history
The original set of stools, of which this is an example, featured painted panels that made them more hard-wearing in the bar.



Windmill retialed this piece at £140 in 1999.



Historical significance: The 1990s saw the opening of several notable bars and restaurants with furniture by named designers. These interiors have become important test beds for contemporary design ideas and the means by which cutting edge design has been popularised. Moreover, specially commissioned furniture for these interiors has been put into production for the domestic and contract markets. Examples include Coast (designed by Marc Newson), Belgo (designed by Ron Arad) and Pharmacy (chairs designed by Jasper Morrison). This is the contemporary context for and significance of the Flight Stool.
Historical context
This stool was originally designed for the bar of the Soho Brewing Company, 41 Earlham Street, Covent Garden, London, WC2H 1LD, when it opened in 1998. (The company subsequently changed its name in 1999 to the Freedom Brewery Co, even though there was no change in ownership.) The young architects Ed Barber and Jay Osgerby undertook the entire fit-out of the basement bar, which is also a micro-brewery. Approximately forty to sixty stools and corresponding chairs (which are identical to the stools with added backs) were supplied. The Flight Stool was subsequently put into production by Windmill Furniture, London, who made the furniture for the bar commission.



The stool is also manufactured by Windmill on behalf of the Italian furniture company Cappellini. In 1998, at the Designers Block exhibition held at the Truman Brewery in Brick Lane, London E1, Cappellini sponsored an installation of the Flight Stool, in which special mouldings of the chair simulated the opening of a bird's wings as it launched itself into flight.



The stool comes in three finishes: birch, walnut, and birch with a painted panel at the base.
Production
Attribution note: This example was one of the original group of approximately 40 to 60 stools and chairs made in 1998 for the Soho Brewing Company.

The stool was subsequently put into production by Windmill Furniture, London, who had made the furniture for the original commission.



Windmill makes the plywood furniture in London and has the rights to sell BOA designs under the Windmill name in this country.



Cappellini manufacture the same designs in Italy, and market them internationally as Cappellini..



However, Windmill has negotiated with Cappellini for the manufacture of all BOA plywood products in Britain. This means that a BOA design ordered from Cappellini in this country will in fact be made by Windmill but labelled as Cappellini..The two companies have negotiated their pricing so equivalent Windmill and Cappellini products retail for the same amount in Britain.
Summary
This stool was originally designed for the bar of the Soho Brewing Company, which opened in Covent Garden in London in 1998. Approximately 40 to 60 stools and matching chairs were supplied for the basement bar, all with painted panels to make them more durable. Windmill Furniture subsequently put the Flight Stool into production. They also manufacture the design on behalf of the Italian furniture company Cappellini. In 1998, at the Designers Block exhibition held at the Truman Brewery in Brick Lane, London, Cappellini sponsored an installation that consisted of several Flight stools suspended in an arc from floor to ceiling. The stools were specially moulded so that the legs opened out wider and wider towards the top of the arc. This simulated a bird launching itself into flight.
Associated Objects
Collection
Accession Number
W.1-2000

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record createdNovember 6, 2000
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